Checking Out the Custom House

Ignored by most tourists, the U.S. Custom House is a stately Greek Revival gem, designed by New York architect John Norris and completed in 1852. The oldest federal building in Georgia, it’s an austere granite temple with a “Tower-of-the-Winds” portico. It also lies on historic ground: James Edward Oglethorpe’s one-story frame house originally stood on the site in 1733, and John Wesley delivered his first sermon in Savannah here in 1736.

The U.S. Custom House stands at 1 E. Bay St. (tel. 912/652-4264), and remarkably, still serves its original purpose. As a public building you are free to look around during office hours (Mon–Fri 8am–5pm), check out the stunning main staircase, and view temporary exhibits on display in the main lobby.


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